AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - By this coming school year, the elementary school which has garnered much controversy from the Amarillo community, will have a new name.
“I’m grateful for the NAACP, I’m grateful for and Amarillo Education Association, that’s our union, and all the community members that have worked so hard to get this name change done,” said first grade teacher at the school Christy Ledgerwood.
Members of the Amarillo community made their final pleas during Monday night’s meeting to persuade the board before they made their decision.
“Times have changed, we’re in the future now, we need to move forward,” said Ledgerwood. “And so we need a place where our students feel welcome. All students, no matter the race. Where they can feel comfortable and not have to have that in the back of their mind.
One Amarillo woman whose child attends the elementary school was concerned that a name change would be costly and might take away important resources.
“I really strongly feel like Lee needs more support financially,” said Luz Vasquez. “Just because many of the kids, I feel, are not progressing to the level they need to be.”
Vasquez says she supports the decision that was made, but wishes parents were properly informed about the financial costs.
“As a parent, I’m not informed where these funds are coming from, so I needed that question to be answered and I got that answer,” she said.
“It is really a pretty minor cost. One, because we’re in the middle of a bond project, and that bond project was already scheduled to put a new marquee up, which is about $20,000,” said AISD Superintendent Doug Loomis. “There’s probably a few ancillary costs, somewhere below $5,000, to change some lettering on the school, but by and large, it’s a pretty minimal cost to change the name from Lee Elementary to Park Hills Elementary.”
AISD’s next steps are to physically replace any showing of the name on school property and go up from there in the weeks leading up to the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
“Get that happening very quickly, we’ll start changing all the databases locally and at the state level,” said Loomis. “Then I don’t have any doubt that by the time we get to school in the middle of August we’ll have the name change complete.”